Accademia di Vino
I have now visited Accademia di Vino twice since it's opening, and I definitely think it is an asset to the neighborhood. The menu offers a diverse selection of antipasti, grilled pizzas, and other small plates ideal for sharing, as well as a full menu of pastas and main courses. I stopped by one early evening after an exhausting meeting. I was feeling a bit of decisional paralysis, and my server was a great help in selecting the perfect light meal, as well as suggesting wines by the glass to pair with "our" selection of food. I ended up with 3 small plates, and two different wines by the glass - that I might not have tried had it not been for my server's guidance. She asked me a few questions to determine what I like in a wine, and suggested one from Sardinia, and another from Sicily. Both paired very well with my mixed mushroom pizza, grilled asparagus, and salmon carpaccio. The vibe at Accademia is lively, the food is elegant, and the flavors bold. My server was gracious and seemed to really know the menu, she told me that they had the luxury of a lengthy training period which included extensive food and wine tastings. I returned a few days later and had a full dinner, this time with a bottle of wine from Piedmont. I was pleased that my second experience at Accademia was equally satisfying. This time I shared a salad with escarole, toasted hazelnuts, pecorino and mint. Quite a flavor festival! We then shared a pizza with robiola cheese and black truffle pate, this is a dish I will dream about. Our main course was grilled tuna over caponata, which was savory without overwhelming the flavor of the tuna. Again, we found the service to be friendly and informed and our meal was delicious. I have yet to have desert there, but the deserts that we saw coming out of the kitchen looked very impressive. I will definitely be a regular visitor, as Accademia offers a street level bar area where you have a the option of a glass of wine and a snack, or a full meal. It really reminds me of favorite places I have discovered in my travels throughout Italy. Definitely worth a visit, or two, or three...
This was definitely not my experience at all. We were seated and left to wait for 10 minutes without a wine list or any attention from our server (though the bread guy came with delicious bread). We asked two of the busboys for a wine list, but they didn't bring it. Finally, our server came and seemed shocked we hadn't received a list. Anyway, we ordered 3 cheese to start. The server dropped them off with no explanation as to what each one was. The rest of the meal (scallops and two pasta dishes) was actually quite good, but all arrived cold. We were going to alert our waitress, but she kept giving us a "just a minute" gesture every time we made eye contact. I suppose this can be attributed to "ironing out the kinks" but eh...it just seems they went cheap on service. Nobody there seemed professional at all. Oh and when I'd called to make a reservation that night, they said they were fully booked, would I like to come tomorrow? Ha.
Went the day it opened. It has this weird corporate feel and it is huge. Split level - some outdoor seating and a bar on street level and a much larger downstairs restaurant-looking space. We didn't eat - just had a bottle of prosecco. Service was fine if not a little bit overwhelmed - completely forgiveable for the first day IMO. Their "gimmick" is that there are academic types of things - like the wine list on lined looseleaf paper etc...
My main feeling is that due to location this has total potential to become a very touristy spot - part of the Bloomingdale's, Dylan's Candy Bar, Serendipity III thing that visitors do. Sorry not much to report but I do plan on going back and checking out the food in the very near future - will let you know